03 July 2019

Public procurement for construction contracts - preparing your bid

There is much more to preparing a bid than simply putting forward a price. The bidding process can be complicated and our Construction team are experienced in advising firms on procurement disputes. To avoid any significant issues arising, however, it is wise to think about the bidding process and how you can maximise your bid’s chances of success.

Here is a quick checklist of some of the things contractors should consider when preparing and submitting a bid and reviewing it post-award.

High Level

  • When the ITT arrives, take a step back and consider the high level issues before getting stuck into the detail. 
  • In particular, think “What is the client’s main concern?” Typically it will be its own clients or customers and keeping them happy. Very often bids focus too much on what the contractor wants to say about itself, rather then what the contractor can do to help the client with its main concerns.
  • Look for clues - very often the client’s priority is clear from the ITT but bids frequently fail to address this.
  • What are the evaluation criteria? They will help you to understand how the bid should be prepared, what input you require and what the client’s priorities are.
  • Note the time limits.

Administrative Issues

  • Ensure that an individual is appointed to answer each question.
  • Ensure that multiple questions within one entry are all addressed.
  • Consider how the process is to be managed - usually this will be electronically. 
  • Make the bid interesting and easy to read. Provide examples where asked. Remember that charts, graphs, etc. are usually easier to digest than blocks of text. 

Providing the Bid

  • Consider the percentages attributed to each element of the bid.
  • If you have a query, use the prescribed process to address it.  Don’t just ignore it! There could be a 30 day time limit for making a challenge, which starts from when your query arose because that was the point when you became aware, or ought to have become aware of the challenge.
  • Ensure someone in your organisation takes responsibility for the document as a whole, which might initially accumulate piecemeal if a number of people have contributed to it.

Post Award

If you are unsuccessful:

  • Hold a debriefing to to find out why you were not successful and whether there are grounds to challenge, as well as looking at ways you can improve any bids in the future.
  • If you wish to challenge, remember that the time limits are very tight. Generally you will only have 30 days to start the court process from the date that you knew, or ought to have known, that there were grounds to challenge.